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HOW TO BEAT YOUR KARMA

Having chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the Mystic Law, for some 40+ years, my life has been enhanced and upgraded in ways I could never have imagined. Even now, in act three of this lifetime, I am blessed with crazy good fortune and magical benefits, helping me deal with the mind-boggling depravity of this world, when life seems like it’s being directed by Jordan Peele. I always keep in mind that I came here to assist humanity in its struggle for enlightenment – not to tell others how to live, but by doing my own human revolution. We’re all connected, like it or not. My journey is your journey.


Winning over ourselves is extremely difficult, and people find reasons to avoid going to all that trouble. I go to all that trouble because I’m extra determined and a little obsessive. I know this life is a biggie – that promised time when bodhisattvas will witness poison turning into medicine, and peace embracing the land – the big finale of the greatest Hollywood production of all time. It requires hard work on every level, but for me, hard work in service of human enlightenment is fun and fulfilling. I do not expect good things to fall in my lap because I’m a good person. Though human revolution is incredibly challenging, what better goal could you possibly have?


At the age when my capacity to rock and roll has diminished – slightly – I’m still hanging in there. There are some perks to being old – I know I’ll think of some in a minute – but seriously, you get a lot of praise and admiration just for making it to (insert “remarkable” age) and can still dress yourself. I am lucky enough to live inside a tree-lined bubble in Portland, Oregon, that is so beautiful, it could be fictional. Taking advantage of life in the woods, I hike every day with my dog, climb many flights of stairs (we didn’t think about all the stairs when we fell in love with this house, but they’re an enforced built-in gym), and push myself to a reasonable level. When I’m at home with my family, surrounded by trees, hooting owls and the occasional coyote chorus, nothing can get me down – except turning on the news, which instantly reminds me of how much there’s still left to do.


I often wonder why people don’t seem worried that they’re not making enough good causes to avoid burning in the hell of incessant suffering. “Those who slander the correct teaching in existence after existence,” says Nichiren, “are condemned to the hell of incessant suffering and will receive no further warnings in this lifetime for their slanderous deeds” (Letter to Horen, WNDI p. 524). Because somewhere in our deepest consciousness lies the record of our eternal lives. You gotta clean up your karma if you want to advance to the higher realms.


Some people think they can beat karma, perhaps seduced by some quick gain for which they’ll owe a huge karmic debt. And when they discover the price is too high, they choose not to pay it and sink deeper into the lower worlds. At this very moment, we are surrounded by, and in danger from, many of these lower world characters. But even if they are hostile to the cause of peace, they need your compassion. Humanity won’t survive if we continue the warring and turn Earth into a battlefield where everyone loses in the end. It’s so easy to be swept into the darkness, much more difficult to aim for the exalted plains of existence.


On the other hand, people of the negative persuasion might be here to resolve some heavy karma that forces them to plunge into the hell plains, where they might finally confront it and change poison into medicine. Time is not linear; the highway to enlightenment is not direct; there are no dots to follow. We are all One. Good fortune comes to us via the route of cause-and-effect. And sometimes good luck is disguised as some mighty obstacle that puts a spike strip on the path ahead. I hate when that happens. But sometimes, dealing with four flat tires makes you stronger, toughens you up to face bigger and bigger challenges, which are bound to arise when you have the courage to fight your karmic battles. No better way to spend your energy.


I am confident that we’re not doomed – just the opposite – that light and love will prevail. I believe there will be some huge, supernatural happening which changes everything for the better. I did not spend all these lifetimes struggling on planet Earth to end up failing. But things can go either way. If humans become extinct, Earth will quickly recover and write a best-seller about the agony she went through with “the homo sapiens.” The new world government will be a panel of Golden Retrievers, and beavers will use their engineering skills to build a new civilization. After her long ordeal, Earth will become the heavenly body she was always meant to be.


I definitely plan on being here for whatever it is that’s coming, whenever it does. Peace on Earth is the main focus of my practice and I’ll continue to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo until my last breath. I want to experience the Big Shift in consciousness then return to the enlightened realms with a perfect record and no unresolved karma. Only sunshine and daffodils in my future.




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I have been practicing Nichiren Buddhism for 40+ years and making beaded jewelry for 25 years, specializing in Buddhist chanting beads, also known as JUZU.

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